PMDG 747 week 3 roundup

Welcome to week 3 of the PMDG 747 rebuild series. This week has given us some ups and downs. However, we made it through the week with some interesting changes to TFM. So, read on for some fun and potentially not so fun updates.

 

Changing the blog series name

 

Since we started the blog series on the PMDG 737, we have introduced new features and bug fixes not related directly to the 737. It is the same with the 747. We are introducing new features and fixing bugs not directly related to the 747. Keep in mind, we are still working on the 747. We are also working on things not related to PMDG aircraft. Given this, we are thinking of changing the series name to “TFM updates, week X” or something similar. If you have any other ideas, feel free to drop us a line on the contact form on the website.

 

What happened to Navigraph?

 

Some users might have seen the GitHub commits mentioning the removal of the Navigraph support in TFM. This is true. Navigraph has taken forever to get back to us about adding Navigraph support to TFM. Since they are taking forever and we aren’t using it anyways, we removed support for it. In the event we are able to make use of it, we will add it back into TFM.

 

PMDG 747 changes

 

Since we have been working in other areas of TFM, the 747 hasn’t gotten much attention. There are a few things to mention.

 

  • The Overhead Maint/Electrical panel buttons now work.
  • Added the Overhead Maint/Fuel panel, described below.

Overhead Maint/Fuel panel

 

This panel is self explanatory. It only has two buttons listed below.

 

ALT+S – Scavenge pump. Press SPACE or ENTER to toggle.

ALT+R – RSV 2-3 transfer. Press SPACE or ENTER to toggle.

 

While looking through the SDK, there are some controls or entire panels that have write-only controls on them. This means we can provide a setting, but can’t read the setting. These controls and panels aren’t much use to BVI pilots, so we will leave them out of TFM until PMDG can provide an outlet for reading the existing setting of these controls and panels. In the Overhead Maint panel, the following panels are left out of TFM until further notice.

 

  • EEC
  • EMU (748 only)
  • APU startup source (748 only)

Weather changes

 

Since we are working on other things along with the PMDG aircraft, we decided to start putting weather tracking into TFM. Adding weather is nice because we can add a few things at a time until the weather services are exhausted. Here are the weather events added this week. The below are added to the request wind command which will be renamed in a future release.

 

  • Visibility in knotts.
  • Turbulence level, none, moderate, severe, or extreme.
  • Precipitation level, none, light, moderate, heavy, very heavy.
  • Precipitation type, none, rain, snow, or hail.

We also added the ability for TFM to automatically announce when the aircraft enters/exits a cloud. The precipitation level/type will get added in a future release.

 

Bug fixes for this week

 

  • The PMDG 737 now only displays its own heading box. Previously, it would display the heading window for freeware aircraft instead of its own.
  • The rebuild database button in TFM’s airports database settings is now ‘build database’. Previously, it had the confusing name ‘rebuild database’.
  • The build database will only display if either P3D or MSFS is loaded into a cockpit. Previously, it would be displayed even if there were no simulators loaded. Pressing the build database button without a loaded simulator forced TFM to crash.

 

Other changes

 

  • Read instrumentation now works. Press right bracket (]), then SHIFT+M to toggle it on and off.
  • When using ‘Where am I?’ right bracket (]), then SHIFT+C while on a runway will now give the runway distance in feet.

 

What about the 737 comms panels?

 

We are still working on the comms/audio panels. There is a sequence of events we have to figure out to make the microphones and receivers change frequency type. We will keep everyone updated as things move along.

 

 

PMDG 747 week 2 roundup

Welcome back! Last week, we started rebuilding support for the PMDG 747. During the PMDG 737 rebuild series, the blog post titles got very long in some cases. During the PMDG 747 rebuild series, the blog titles will resemble this one: PMDG747 week 2 roundup. With that in mind, let’s get started with the PMDG 747 week 2 roundup! This post may be longer than most, but keep reading to find some interesting changes to the airports database, and the first panel to be supported in the PMDG 747.

 

Airports database

Why the changes?

 

The airports database structure has significantly changed since TFM 23.1, released at the start of January 2023. The new database design reduces the memory footprint of the airports data loaded into memory. When TFM starts, it loads the airports database. This database is over 3GB in size while it lives in memory. Each time a user requests information from the database, it calculates that user’s current location in relation to everything in the world. The resulting airports database takes up an additional 3GB of memory. To reduce the number of times TFM recalculates the user’s current location in the world, TFM constantly recalculates the user’s current location every 250MS. The consequence is that every 250MS, TFM eats another 3GB of memory. This forces the CPU to over work, pushing incomplete work on to the GPU, which eventually overloads. As a result, MSFS users experience audio buffering, jittering or jumping video, or significant lagging when the airports database is loaded. P3D users don’t experience these problems because the airports database is small enough to rebuild without taking up significant portions of computer resources. To make it easier to work with the airports database, all users will have the same changes to work with. Below are the changes made to the new airports database structure.

 

What’s new?

 

* When starting TFM for the first time, you must build the airports database.

* Start TFM.

* Go into TFM settings.

* Find the airports database section in the tree.

* In the airports database window.

* In the P3d airports database area, locate and set the P3D airports database folder.

* In the MSFS area, locate and set your MSFS airports database folder.

* Locate the “rebuild airports database” button and activate it.

* A message will appear, notifying you when the database is finished building.

* Press the OK button to close settings.

* Restart TFM by pressing right bracket (]), then CTRL+SHIFT+X.

* When TFM restarts, it will load the new database.

* Most TFM airport database features such as the ILS tracking system stay the same. We will announch any changes when they occur.

* Most airport database features run faster. A test of the ‘Where am I?’ feature accessed by pressing right bracket (]), then SHIFT+C significantlly improved in speed.

* Report bugs in the GitHub issue queue if you find any problems.

 

What’s missing?

 

* We removed the freeware flight planner. It requires a significant rewrite to comply with the new airports database design.

* We removed the airports search window found under procedures menu in the freeware flight planner. It requires significant rewrites to comply with the new airports database design.

 

PMDG 737 updates

 

The 737 isn’t quite finished yet. There are a few items that need finished. The audio/comms panels are taking a little longer than expected because we need to contact PMDG support for clarification on some of the controls. The FMC redesign is delayed because we are looking into what alternate design will work best. Aside from these outstanding items, the 737 is complete. If you have a special request for the PMDG 737, drop us a line and we will look into it.

 

PMDG 747 updates

 

Overhead Maintenance/Electrical panel

 

We added the overhead maintenance/electrical panel. This panel controls electrical activity in the engine generators and APU generators. It also defines how electricity flows from the APU and generators. As always, there is more than one way to access the controls in a panel. Either use the TAB key and move through the controls, or use the assigned keyboard commands, listed below. Since there are groups of controls in this panel, each keyboard command will take you to the group of controls linked to it.

 

Keyboard commands

 

ALT+G – Generator field reset switches. Group that contains 4 engine generator reset switches. Change by pressing SPACE or ENTER.

ALT+A – APU reset switches. A group that contains the 2 APU reset switches. Change with SPACE or ENTER.

ALT+S – Split system breaker. Change with SPACE or ENTEr.

ALT+N – Ground power test switch. Change with SPACE or ENTER.

ALT+P – Towing power switch (748 only). Change with SPACE or ENTER.

ALT+1 – Generator reset indicators. Readonly.

ALT+2 – APU reset indicators. Readonly.

ALT+3 – Split system breaker indicator. Readonly.

 

 

Other changes

 

The “Where am I?” feature has a new capability. In the past, this feature would announce the runway, gate, or taxiway where the aircraft is currently located when on the ground. In addition to these locations, “Where am I?” will announce the airport code if you are not located at a runway, gate, or taxiway, but are located somewhere within the airport’s geofenced boundaries. This helps identify when you are at the airport in the below cases.

 

  • You ran off the runway during landing.
  • You completely missed the runway during a landing.
  • You are landing on a runway that does not exist in your scenery.
  • * You attempt to drive around the airport and get lost.
  • * Pushback puts part of your aircraft in the grass or other surface.
  • * You attempt to taxi and run off the taxiway onto another surface.
  • * Other scenarios not listed.

 

It is our goal to give the “Where am I?” feature the ability to automatically announce location changes. This post is one of the longer ones we have written, so we will close for now. Until next week, have fun flying!

PMDG 747 week 1/PMDG 737 week 29`

Welcome to 2023. This is week 29 of the PMDG 737 rebuild series. This week we will cover some final items to get done in the 737. We will also cover the start of the PMDG 747 rebuild series. Let’s get started!

 

Finishing the PMDG 737

 

There isn’t much left in the PMDG 737 to finish. All that is left are the audio panels (3), comms panels (2), and the redesign of the FMC. I would suspect that it should take another 4 or so weeks to complete before another preview build comes out. Some users might want to know why it is taking so long to finish the 737. There are a few reasons. First, I ended up with a hard case of the flu over the past few weeks and had to recover. Now that I am better, we can continue. The second reason is covered below.

 

Starting the PMDG 747 rebuild series

 

This week (Jan 2, 2023) starts week 1 of the PMDG 747 rebuild series. It will follow a similar format as the PMDG 737 rebuild series. Each week there will be a blog post covering what has been finished each week, followed by a YouTube video showing the new features/changes for the week. When the 747 rebuild series is complete, we will feature a full flight on YouTube to show off the new features working together. As a reminder, the PMDG 747 rebuild series is expected to take around 52 weeks to complete. So, be patient during this cycle of previews.

We hope you have enjoyed the PMDG 737 rebuild series and are looking forward to the PMDG 747 rebuild series starting today. Until next week, have fun in your flying adventures.